Open House Attracts 350 Guests

After a day of unrelenting rain, skies cleared on Sunday afternoon (June 28) for the second annual open house at Fair Winds Farm, celebrating the month of the horse in New Jersey. About 350 guests, most of them with no connection or experience with horses, walked up the tree-lined lane, past fields of mares and foals, to the Cream Ridge farm for an afternoon of everything equine… Fair Wind’s Mark Mullen invited several partners and exhibitors to open the doors to the farm and the horse world to the general public, with FFA members parking cars and exhibiting alongside Rutgers University Equine Science program, Harness Horse Youth Foundation, Standardbred Pleasure Horse Organization, NJ Quarter Horse Association, NJ Farm Bureau and Monmouth County 4H, complete with real bunnies in baskets… "It was a beautiful day and we had enthusiastic participation from many groups and a lot of non-horse people here, visiting Dr. Hogan’s clinic, seeing all the demos," said Fair Winds’ owner Mark Mullen. "People were very complimentary about the farm and all the horses and activities. Everyone seemed to have a wonderful time."

Read the entire article at www.harnesslink.com »

Food for Thought: Use More Forages in Livestock Farming

Small-scale livestock farming in the tropics can become more intensive yet sustainable if more and better forage is used to feed the animals being reared. This could benefit farming endeavours in rural South Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, Central America and the Caribbean, and see a move away from the increased reliance on grain-based feeds, say scientists at CIAT (International Center for Tropical Agriculture) and Thomas Rudel of Rutgers University in the US, in Springer’s journal Ambio… Rudel and his associates at CIAT argue that the "LivestockPlus" program could be a way forward by increasing the use of forages to feed livestock, which is often reared on small farms, in the tropics. Its agricultural research and extension efforts help to intensify in sustainable ways the management of forage grasses and legumes, shrubs, trees, and animals… "In addition to enhancing the food security of poor consumers by reducing global demand and prices for grains, forage-focused sustainable intensification would improve the productive capacity of poor producers who raise crops and livestock on small landholdings in rural South Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, and Central America.", says Rudel.

Read the entire article at www.phys.org »

Pollinator Study of Wild Bees Reveals Efficacy in Numbers Vs. Diversity

Wild pollinators, like this bumble bee, account for 80 percent of the pollination around the world. Photo by Joaqium Alves Gaspar.

Wild pollinators, like this bumble bee, account for 80 percent of the pollination around the world. Photo by Joaqium Alves Gaspar.

In a study of fruit crops in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and California, SEBS ecologist Rachael Winfree and co-authors from University of Calgary found that the abundance of  a few dominant species of wild bees is more important than the diversity of bee species pollinating crops. Read more at Rutgers Today.

What’s in Season from the Garden State: The Basil Battle – New Cultivars on the Horizon to Beat Downy Mildew

Professor James E. Simon and plant breeding Ph.D. student Rob Pyne in the basil greenhouse. After years of crosses and evaluations in fields and greenhouse, they are well down the path to developing a sweet basil variety resistant to the destructive downy mildew pathogen. Photo by Jack Rabin.

Professor James E. Simon and plant breeding Ph.D. student Rob Pyne in the basil greenhouse. After years of crosses and evaluations in fields and greenhouse, they are well down the path to developing a sweet basil variety resistant to the destructive downy mildew pathogen. Photo by Jack Rabin.

For the past seven years, a familiar scenario has been playing out on farms and in gardens across the U.S. A healthy, fragrant crop of sweet basil begins to display yellowing leaves. Upon closer inspection, the undersides of the leaves show signs of a menacing grayish sporulation. It is only a matter of time before the basil plant and others in proximity succumb to this new disease of basil, downy mildew.

Neither a fungus or a mold, downy mildew is the common name for a group of highly specialized plant pathogens called “oomycetes” that infect and feed off of living host plants. Each downy mildew is specific to its host plant. For instance, downy mildew of impatiens, another recent scourge, is specific to impatiens, while basil downy mildew affects only basil – with the most popular type, sweet basil, being the most susceptible.

Basil downy mildew favors heat and humidity, and by mid to late summer, when there is enough inoculum, the disease is widespread in our region. According to Extension Specialist in Vegetable Pathology Andy Wyenandt at Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, basil downy mildew can’t overwinter in our region and can only survive the winter in southern Florida and Texas, where it is a year-round threat. The rapid spread to northern states during the growing season is through the planting of infested seed, by importing southern-grown plant material, or via weather patterns coming from southern states. [Read more…]

Better Tasting Strawberry Developed at Rutgers Makes Its Debut

99-204-01 Snyder trial May 31 2013_-9It’s been ten years in the making, but the team that has launched the Rutgers Scarlet Strawberry (RSS) knows they have a winner. Coming from retired plant biology professor Gojko Jelenkovic’s 20 years of testing hundreds of varieties to develop a better tasting strawberry, the RSS is the first of several new varieties that are coming to market after several years of field trials on New Jersey farms conducted by Agricultural Agents Pete Nitzsche and Bill Hlubik. Read more at Rutgers Today.